'Serial' & The Case Against the Criminal Justice System

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Adnan Syed already faced two murder trials. His first ended in a mistrial; the second ended with his conviction for first degree murder. 

His third, listeners might argue, ends today as the podcast "Serial" concludes its first season. 

"Serial" has captivated millions of listeners over its 12-week run. The series focuses on the 1999 trial of Syed, who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, at the age of 17.

Produced by This American Life and WBEZ, and hosted by Sarah Koenig, "Serial" has also exposed a number of problems in the American justice system.

For example, in Episode 8: The Deal with Jay, Koenig speaks with jurors who served in Syed's case. Koenig tells her listeners, "Adnan didn't testify at his trial, which isn't unusual. Jurors aren't supposed to take that into consideration—the judge tells them so, that they are not allowed to hold that against a defendant when they're deliberating."

She then asks one former juror, Lisa Flynn, whether it bothered the jury that Adnan did not testify. 

"Yes it did," Lisa replies. "That was huge."

As Maurice Chammah, staff writer for The Marshall Project, explains, jury bias is hardly the only flaw in the American criminal justice system "Serial" has exposed. He tells The Takeaway about additional problems "Serial" has highlighted, including racial stereotyping, police recordings (or lack thereof) and issues with eyewitness testimony and memory.